Motegi Super Formula: Palou scores second straight pole

Nakajima Racing’s Alex Palou clinched his second consecutive pole position in Super Formula after topping a closely-fought qualifying session at Motegi.

Motegi Super Formula: Palou scores second straight pole

The ex-GP3 and European F3 racer needed only a single flying lap in Q3, but that was good enough to break the circuit’s previous lap record and move him to the top of the timesheets.

His time of 1m31.442s remained unbeaten after the remaining seven drivers completed their respective runs, making him the only driver to score two pole positions in 2019.

Friday and Q1 pacesetter Ryo Hirakawa qualified 0.199s behind Palou for Impul, with Nirei Fukuzumi of Dandelion Racing finishing another tenth adrift after topping Q2.

Red Bull junior Lucas Auer continued his strong run of qualifying performances on his return to single-seaters, the B-Max by Motopark driver ending up 0.362s off the pace in fourth.

Two-time Super Formula champion Hiroaki Ishiura (Inging) secured his best result of the season in fifth, ahead of the lead Mugen entry of Tomoki Nojiri.

Kamui Kobayashi was unable to repeat his Q2 lap that put him second in the classification, the KCMG driver eventually qualifying seventh on the grid with a time of 1m32.040s.

Championship leader Naoki Yamamoto (Dandelion) endured a difficult session and could do no better than eighth, but he crucially qualified four places ahead of his chief title rival Nick Cassidy (TOM’S).

Cassidy’s teammate Kazuki Nakajima and Red Bull junior Patricio O’Ward were both knocked out in Q1, a session which mandates all drivers to run on medium tyres.

Nakajima was 16th fastest in Q1, while Mugen driver O’Ward will start his second Super Formula race from 18th on the grid.

Session results:

Cla # Driver Team Time Gap
1 64 Spain Alex Palou
TCS Nakajima Racing 1'31.442
2 20 Japan Ryo Hirakawa
Team Impul 1'31.641 0.199
3 5 Japan Nirei Fukuzumi
DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing 1'31.764 0.322
4 50 Austria Lucas Auer
B-MAX with Motopark 1'31.804 0.362
5 38 Japan Hiroaki Ishiura
JMS 1'31.931 0.489
6 16 Japan Tomoki Nojiri
Team Mugen 1'31.942 0.50
7 18 Japan Kamui Kobayashi
carrozzeria Team KCMG 1'32.040 0.598
8 1 Japan Naoki Yamamoto
DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing 1'32.049 0.607
9 19 Japan Yuhi Sekiguchi
Team Impul 1'32.399 0.957
10 39 Japan Sho Tsuboi
JMS 1'32.793 1.351
11 51 United Kingdom Harrison Newey
B-MAX with Motopark 1'32.824 1.382
12 37 New Zealand Nick Cassidy
Vantelin Team TOM'S 1'32.856 1.414
13 3 Japan Kenta Yamashita
Kondo Racing 1'33.807 2.365
14 65 Japan Tadasuke Makino
TCS Nakajima Racing 1'33.820 2.378
15 4 Japan Yuji Kunimoto
Kondo Racing 1'34.003 2.561
16 36 Japan Kazuki Nakajima
Vantelin Team TOM'S 1'34.036 2.594
17 8 Japan Kazuya Oshima
UOMO Sunoco Team LeMans 1'34.086 2.644
18 15 Mexico Patricio O'Ward
Team Mugen 1'34.361 2.919
19 7 Russian Federation Artem Markelov
UOMO Sunoco Team LeMans 1'34.386 2.944
20 17 Japan Koudai Tsukakoshi
Real Racing 1'34.765 3.323
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